On Friday 7th October we treated a group of 11 young victims of child abuse to a fun day out at Australia Zoo. Organised by Detective Sergeant Mark Pryer of Morningside CPIU, the day was a great success thanks to the assistance of a variety of organisations.
The children and supervisors travelled by mini-bus courtesy of the Police Academy, and was driven by Qld Blue Light State Coordinator Sergeant Paul Lincoln. Everyone arrived safely, even though we told the kids that Paul only got his licence the day before and was blind as well as deaf. The day got off to a great start at McDonalds Bracken Ridge, where we were all treated to a huge free breakfast. We were sent on our way with plenty of water and cookies, as well as goody bags for all the kids. This was all donated by owner Rod Chiapello, who is a terrific supporter of Blue Light and the Qld Police Service.
Our five star treatment continued on arrival at Australia Zoo, where we were given free entry and a guide to get us started. Highlight of the day was the Animal Extravaganza, where we had the opportunity to have some one on one interaction with a koala, echidna, macaw, python, blue tongue lizard and wombat. This was a huge hit with the kids (and grown ups!) closely followed by the Crocoseum Show where we had VIP seating. Kangaroo feeding and a trip to Africa rounded out the day.
Blue Light chips in by buying everyone lunch, and paying for the special Animal Extravaganza. We also provide a goodies bag for the kids.
Special days like these are very important for these young people. Children in circumstances that lead them to come under the care of the CPIU can end up becoming distrustful of adults. They can also come to see the Police in a negative way, associating them with a traumatic time in their lives, giving evidence, attending court etc. We believe that showing them that Police Officers and other adults care about their welfare is an important part of the healing process. It is extremely rewarding to see a group of kids who have had some extremely difficult things to cope with in their young lives simply spend a day having fun and just being kids.
A big thank you to our supervisors on the day: From Morningside CPIU – Det Sgt Mark Pryer and PCSC Shannon Midgley. From Boondall CPIU – Det Sgt Joanne Patterson and DSC Renee Pavicic. From Qld Blue Light – Sgt Paul Lincoln and Mrs Jenny Monk.